This eggplant curry combines high-protein chickpeas with tender eggplant and a creamy coconut milk-based sauce for the ultimate wholesome, comforting mid-week meal. Best of all, this curry recipe is naturally vegan, gluten-free, can be made oil-free, and is ready in under 30 minutes!
If there’s one thing you’ll easily figure out when browsing through my blog, I LOVE comfort food—a lot. In-between recipes including vegan gumbo, Hungarian goulash, vegan pot pie, and mushroom bourguignon, I also love curries like vegan butter chicken, sweet potato curry, red lentil dahl, and this eggplant curry (aka aubergine curry/ brinjal curry).
This vegan curry recipe includes some of my favorite ingredients; chickpeas, eggplant, coconut milk, and curry powder. The resulting curry is creamy, comforting, slightly spicy (but customizable!), and truly satisfying – perfect for serving with rice and/or naan for a complete meal. All in under 30 minutes!
Comforting and Nutritious Chickpea Eggplant Curry
Did you know that curry powder not only tastes fantastic -with a combination of several spices often including cilantro, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, and chili- but it’s also packed with all sorts of health benefits?
For example, the spices within curry powder may help protect against cancerous cells, reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce Alzheimer’s’ symptoms, ease pain and inflammation, boost bone health, protect the immune system, and even increase the liver’s ability to remove toxins from the body! Now that’s a list of health benefits I can get behind. Especially when it comes in the package of a delicious Indian eggplant curry recipe.
Best of all, this nutritious vegan chickpea curry is made up of largely pantry staples; something I’ve focused on a lot recently and following the recent global ‘situation’. I even recently pulled together a list of pantry-friendly vegan dinner recipes.
If you can’t source eggplant? Well, you’ve got yourself a coconut chickpea curry, have veggies in the fridge in need of using? Chuck them in (check below for veggie suggestions), no coconut milk? Use another dairy-free cream. There’s no stopping this vegan curry!
In fact, I pretty much always aim to have several cans (or a bag) of chickpeas in my pantry ready to pull together quick, nutritious dinners like this and other favorites, including chickpea tacos, stuffed zucchini, and broccoli chickpea stir-fry. You can even shove these legumes into your dessert. Flourless chickpea brownies, anyone?!
Eggplant is also a common ingredient in my kitchen, used to stuff with lentils and stuffed within quesadillas and wraps, with leftovers added to veggie stir-fry noodles!
Today, though, let’s get to work turning those chickpeas and eggplant into a delicious coconut curry!
- Chickpeas: I used a 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed. Feel free to cook the chickpeas from dry if preferred.
- Eggplant: I prefer to use two small eggplants rather than one large one. Smaller ones tend to contain fewer seeds (i.e. less bitterness!) and hold together better while cooking.
- Aromatics: I use a simple classic combination of onion and garlic.
- Coconut milk: I use canned coconut milk or coconut cream. Use lite coconut milk for a healthier option – though it won’t be as creamy. If you can’t source coconut milk, then feel free to use another dairy-free cream. I like oat cream or soy cream, etc.
- Curry Powder: Alternatively, you could use curry paste. You can buy different heat levels of curry powder/paste (mild, medium, hot), so choose based on your personal preference. If you have no curry powder, then garam masala would also work.
- Seasonings: I love to add extra cumin to this vegan chickpea curry. I also add a little additional turmeric (packed with health benefits), smoked paprika (for smokiness), and cayenne pepper (for spice). I also use salt and pepper, as usual.
Check the recipe notes below for more ingredient notes!
- Cooked Rice: I often use jasmine rice but use the rice or grain of your choice.
- Dairy-free Yogurt: I love to serve any vegan curry recipe with a dollop of dairy-free yogurt. It balances with any spice very well.
- Naan: Optional, but I love mopping up all the sauce with warm aromatic homemade naan bread.
- Garnish: I like to use either a little fresh cilantro or finely shredded raw spinach.
For the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information, read the recipe card below.
How To Make Eggplant Curry
There are just three simple steps when cooking this flavorful curry recipe.
- Start by cubing the eggplant and finely chopping the onion into small pieces.
- Heat a little oil (or water for an oil-free option) in a pan over medium heat. Add the two ingredients and cook for around 10 minutes until the eggplant becomes tender.
- Add the garlic and drained chickpeas.
- Then add the coconut milk, spices, and salt, and pepper and stir well. Simmer the curry for around 5 minutes.
When ready, serve the vegan chickpea curry with your choice of cooked rice and/or naan bread. Garnish the dish with fresh cilantro or finely chopped spinach and enjoy!
How To Store and Reheat?
Store: Any leftovers will keep for 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. The eggplant coconut curry should also freeze well, though it isn’t something I’ve tried. I recommend allowing it to cool completely first. Then freeze in portions for between 2-3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Reheat: Reheat the curry either on the stovetop over medium-low until warmed through or in the microwave. If the sauce has thickened up too much, add a little of your favorite plant-based milk to thin it again. Stir carefully when reheating, so you don’t mash all the eggplant.
Recipe Notes & Variations
- Other Vegetables: This eggplant curry recipe is fairly versatile. Feel free to bulk up (or replace ingredients) the vegan curry further with additional ingredients; potato, cauliflowers, squash, zucchini – as long as they’ll cook within the time, anything goes.
- To thicken the curry: I find that the sauce thickens up wonderfully. However, if you happen to add too much liquid, use a little cornstarch, arrowroot flour, or potato starch. Create a slurry with it first before adding it to the sauce.
- For slightly different flavor: You can add 2-3 large diced tomatoes or some tinned tomatoes.
- The eggplant: You could also use roasted eggplant within this curry! Perfect for using up leftovers.
Other Vegan Comforting Recipes
If you love wholesome, comforting recipes like this chickpea curry recipe then you might also like:
- Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
- Vegan Meatballs
- German Potato Soup
- Vegan Mushroom Risotto
- Lentil Bolognese
- Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff
- Creamed Peas And Carrots
If you try this chickpea eggplant curry recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan #elavegan – I love seeing them.
Chickpea & Egplant Curry
- 1 15-ounce can (400 g) chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 2 small eggplants (or a large one)
- 1/2 large onion diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup (240 ml) coconut milk canned (or lite coconut milk)
- 1-2 tbsp curry powder (you can use curry paste instead)
- 1-2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin (or more to taste)
- 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cooked rice of choice (I use Jasmine rice)
- Spinach or fresh coriander for serving
- Watch the video for easy visual instructions.Chop the eggplant and the onion into small pieces and heat a little oil (or water) in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and the eggplant and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes until the eggplant becomes tender. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to the pan.
- Add the coconut milk, spices, salt, and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Serve your curry with cooked rice of choice (my favorite is Jasmine rice) or naan bread. Garnish with either spinach or fresh coriander. Enjoy!
Video Of The Recipe
- Use small eggplants: It's always best to use smaller eggplants in recipes like this. The more pieces that have skin, the less chance of you ending up with eggplant 'mush'. This is because the skin will help to hold it together a bit better.
- Recipe serves 4. Nutrition facts are for one serving with full-fat coconut milk.
- If you use light coconut milk the recipe will have less fat and calories (about 191 kcal and 5.5 grams of fat).
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
The eggplant held up nicely but I personally found the flavors a bit bland. I didn’t have smoked paprika, so I used sweet, and omitted the cayenne as my kids not one for heat, so perhaps that’s where more of the depth lies.
Delish! For a no oil option, I find it easier to grill eggplant slices in the broiler and then cut them.
Thanks for your feedback, Les. 🙂
Another great recipe. I do not like eggplant and therefore used sweet potatoes. A wonderful fall meal.
Hi Sandra, I am glad it turned out delicious! Thanks for your feedback. 🙂